At the Crossroads: UK or Australia

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At the Crossroads: UK or Australia

International students can find themselves having to make many choices regarding their studies. The course that you choose to pursue, the university you will attend, and the country you will be travelling to.

While the US and the UK dominate a large majority of the global international student population, Australia has proven to be an attractive alternative when choosing to study abroad. This article will pit both nations together and compare what it would be like to study in these respective countries. Let’s begin!


Cultural Diversity

UK: The UK is extremely proud of its multicultural society. People here are welcoming and friendly to students from all over the world. Not only do major cities in the UK boast of a population with large ethnic diversity, even smaller cities and towns, have people and families from a mix of backgrounds and cultures. Whether you're studying in Birmingham or Bradford, Manchester or Macclesfield, there is no doubt you will be able to find a community of people from your culture. Also, the UK is right at the doorstep pf Europe, opening many travel options to countries you have only dreamed of going.

Australia: Australia on the other hand, does not offer such diversity across its country. Unlike the UK, people from all walks of life usually are found in large cities such as Melbourne and Sydney. Whilst in smaller cities, cultural diversity can be quite hard to find.  Some international students may find this a worthy challenge, but others may take a longer time to settle in. Australia is also geographically closer to Asian countries and will cost less to travel home.


Cost of Living

UK: Without a doubt, London can be very expensive. However, outside of the capital, life is much more affordable than you would think. Cities like Manchester and Birmingham tend to have a lower cost of living. A 1 bedroom apartment or studio flat for students can cost as little as £90 a week! Groceries here are much cheaper with the introduction of discount supermarket chains like Aldi and Lidl.

Australia: According to the Business Insider, Australia and New Zealand have the highest cost of living among all the other regions of the world. On average, Australia has a higher cost of living when compared to the UK. Cities such as Sydney are notoriously expensive, so before you think about studying there, it is crucial you ensure you will be able to afford it!




UK: The stereotypical weather in the UK shown in media is that it rains a lot here and that it’s always cloudy. But that’s not always the case. Weather depends on the changing of seasons and differs according to which part of the UK you are planning to study at. The UK has warm summers and cool winters, with a dash of rain in between. The climate gets considerably warmer the more south of the UK you head.

Australia: Because Australia lies in the southern hemisphere, they celebrate Christmas in the summer and have cold weather during June to August. It’s your choice whether you would like to enjoy a Christmas barbeque on the beach or sip hot chocolate by the fireplace while it snows outside.


University Options

UK: Ranked 2nd place in the top ten countries for a university education, the UK has established a long history of providing world class education to students from all around the world. With four universities ranked in the Top Ten list, the quality of education here is nothing short of the best. The UK offers 1 year Master's degrees, and 3 year Bachelor's degrees (with the option of work placements or internships in many courses). Tuition fees in comparison to the USA and Australia are relatively cheap but have increased in the last few years.

Australia: Whilst universities in Australia are not in possession of the rich history found in many institutions in the UK, the country remains a fast-emerging education destination. Like in the UK, most universities provide working experiences and internships along with your studies. Universities such as the University of Melbourne, ANU and Sydney have all been ranked in the Times Higher Education rankings 2016.


Visa and Immigration

UK: Students seeking to enrol in a UK university must apply for a Tier 4 visa. In recent years, there has been significant tightening of the rules when making your application so before you apply you must be aware of the procedures. You may be asked to attend an interview, and will have to ensure you have English language evidence in the way of a UKVI approved IELTS result. UK students are able to work during their studies, usually a maximum of 20 hours a week, and are also able to bring their spouses on a dependant visa. 

Australia: Where the UK may have tightened their rules, Australia has attempted to make the process a little easier. You may not be required to attend an interview, and the English language evidence will differ from the UK. Spouses get dependant visas only if the student is pursuing a Masters Degree or a PhD. Student visa holders are allowed to work up to 40 hours per fortnight during their studies in Australia.

Only you can make the right decision, given the options listed above. What’s important to consider is whether education in that country:

 Helps you on your career path?

 Provides a recognised qualification in your own country?

 The style of teaching and assessment methods is suitable

 Is affordable when including cost of living and tuition fees?

 Needs you to fulfil visa requirements that you are not able to?